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Just 3 players who started against Saracens are in Racing's Top 14 team on Saturday after last week's virus outbreak

By Online Editors
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Racing will start just three players against Toulouse in the Top 14 on Saturday night who were in the XV that dethroned defending champions Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-finals a fortnight ago in Paris.

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The Parisian club’s Top 14 match at La Rochelle was postponed last weekend due to nine unnamed players testing positive for Covid-19 in the days after their last-four European game.

However, it’s believed the outbreak has been stifled and there is no threat to Racing’s participation in next Saturday’s Champions Cup final versus Exeter in Bristol. 

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The Racing squad not involved against Toulouse have entered a bubble in a Coscica hotel and will re-unite as a full squad on the island after that game is over.      

Teddy Thomas, Olivier Klemenczak and Donnacha Ryan are the three repeat Racing starters from the win over Saracens.  

Teddy Baubigny, Boris Palu, Maxime Machenaud, Antoine Gibert and Francois-Trinh Duc, who were replacements against the London club, are all promoted to the starting XV. 

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Two further European starters, Camille Chat and Dominic Bird, are chosen on the bench where they are joined by Hassane Kolingar and Fabien Sanconnie, two subs from the semi-final. 

It means that twelve of the 23 that faced Saracens are on league duty, with the likes of Finn Russell, Virimi Vakatawa and Simon Zebo all wrapped up ahead of next week’s European decider. 

With France on red alert due to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases, the number of fans allowed attend is also restricted to 1,000.  

“It’s heartbreaking for the club and the players,” read a club statement, “but we are counting on all of your support for this game and hope that the situation improves in the coming weeks.”

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